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for more innovative thinking go to today. my name is kathy shear and i'm on your side. good morning and welcome to this week in defense news. iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, congress and the future of defense spending and the review are among the topics we will discuss today with our four distinguished defense journalists. on our panel are rick mays, congressional editor of army times publishing company. ryan bener the pentagon reporter for the "boston globe." john barry the national security correspondent for news week and deputy chief editor. welcome to the show. let's start off with iraq.
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the security situation there was assumed to be improving and so u.s. forces could do an aggressive pullout and some suggested that schedule to be accelerated to be out of iraq by 2011. security situation there is a little bit rougher. brian, any chance that u.s. forces will stay there beyond 2011? >> i think there are clear signs in the last couple of weeks there are ethnic tensions, very strong ones still simmering just beneath the surface and growing concern that could come out into the open. certainly there are extremists that are trying to stoke those fires again. and certainly the u.s. military expresses concern that this could get out of hand. on the other hand they are encouraged that so far things have been relatively stable. that the shiah population have been reserved in not responding to these more recent attacks.
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but having said that, with the elections coming up in january for the parliament in iraq, there is very little chance i think there will be some movement further movement on the political reconciliation that needs to happen because people will be angling for the elections and securing their position maybe expanding it. there will be a vacuum that could be taken advantage of. we will put out. of course, we will leave some troops as maliki said when he was in washington recently. otherwise i would suspect we will leave troops up in the north because i suspect the central government wants it to prevent. >> training and advisory personnel rather than. >> other than that, i think iraqis will solve their problems in an iraqi way which is modest killing. >> the elections that are important to decide when we are getting out or the u.s. elections that are coming and we have to be well on our way getting out of there by those
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elections. that's what the last section was about and that's what people are expecting. planning for us to withdraw with well underway. members of congress are being briefed regularly about how we will leave there and how we will make sure our troops aren't attacked as they drive that road back to kuwait with the equipment. what equipment do you take? what equipment do you leave? >> that's a huge expense. tens of billions to 20s of billions of dollars about pulling all of the u.s. equipment out of there. >> what do we leave them with because that's a matter of capability that we have to worry about. that's worth potentially losing american lives over as you pull out. more you take out, the longer it is you are going. and we are ripe to be attacked as we withdraw. >> i suspect we will leave the iraqi army standardly well equipped. >> whether or not the neighbors want that or specifically because of that reason. >> my thoughts are more expensive to clean the stuff. and bring the material back.
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it it might be worth leaving it there or dumping it in the sea. >> let's jump over into the interesting point. that's remediation costs are something that has many people in the pentagon worried about what the total end cost will be. let's not go to iraq -- let's go to gchtion and pakistan. that's the big drive, the priority of pulling out in iraq and actually increasing operations there. how successful has been the new u.s. drive. marines launched a major operation there. a week before the presidential elections there. is this operation proving to be successful? >> i think it's way too early to say. we have to wait for the strategic review but the general and we see if we need more troops. those offensives on the western forces has happened before. the problem we have is we are not able to stay long enough and the taliban just come back. i happen to understand that the u.s. strategy will to be keep
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the marines in certain places and to occupy the terrain much more than the case before and then we have to see it will take a few months. holding ground problem is the question. what direction is the strategy going to take? >> to want more. more troops. more trainers. more money. more reconstruction. above all, more effort to pursue the afghan government that it has to improve the services that it delivers to the afghan people. >> successful in one way. it's successful because it's showing this administration is committed to offensive operations there and even if we can't sustain them for a long period of time, at least it shows everybody the world the whole world that obama is willing to do this kind of operations and the u.s. can pull them off and that's a big deal. >> i think how long the u.s. public can sometic, particularly if there are more can stomach it. it depends a lot on the benchmarks that the administration has yet to lay
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out. that it's working on. in other words what are the goals. how do we measure success. if it part of that is reaching out in a meaningful way to the taliban are elements of the taliban that could shorten the time frame that u.s. forces would have to be there. i think figuring out how to measure progress and what our goals are that is up in the air. >> back to the point about the commitment, this war has been on since october 2001. this not a new conflict. a conflict we have been engaged in for the better part of a decade. is there a stomach in the united states or europe to stick with this for another ten years and make the commitment that it will cost to take a country that's literally zero and move it to a place where it can be self-sustainings in no. >> i think in part that the administration can make a case that we are starting a anew now and the clock on patience starts with obama's election. this was a back water in part
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during the bush administration. so that gives them a little bit more grace. ten years, i don't think so. i think really -- i think by the end of the first term of the obama we have to have -- >> the clock is running on three years. >> i think need to have results. for everybody to -- in 2001 except for the afghans. way before. but the thing is, you know, i think rick is right. it started with the election of obama and the clock starts again but nevertheless for the public and in europe and people are getting tired of it when you see opinion polls even in britain and great britain. it's not very good. there is less and less support for the war. >> in the u.s. casualties make a matter of patience. if casualties are low and offensive operations return too dangerous, i think you have more time. i think if casualties are relatively high the clock
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shortens. >> the problem is that the however the operations we do like the -- operation. we don't have the troops in relation to the terrain and the relation of the population. we don't have the troop density to sustain our presence. what we are doing is sweeping that with a broom and when we take the broom away, the atlanta comes back. the taliban will be there. and my sense of what crystal is facing up to and one of the reasons why there is to and fro is when the report is do because it is being discussed. is that mccrystal faces his administration with a very difficult question which is if you want to succeed, you are going to have to put in a lot more troops. do you really want to do that? >> or move the goal posts to make it more achievable. last words? >> i was going to say one of the main reasons we are there the first place, osama bin laden is at large. if he is captured or killed
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that could buy the administration more time. >> if it proves to be true, is a boom for the administration. coming up next, a round table discussion continue was look at congress and unfinished defense budget. hey smart,
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we are back with our round table discussion with our distinguished panel. rick, let me ask you this question. the administration wants to keep defense spending at $534 billion and then contingency war time-type funding. given the realities and the size of the deficit, health care underway, there is anyway that number is going to be preserved? >> well, certainly the number is not going to go up. and what will erode it is the contingency costs will continue to be higher than what they want and lud -- include in the regular budget. in terms of actual money to spend on new weapons it will go
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down. i don't think they will cut the defense budget. i don't think they are willing to accept what comes with that and what happens to democrats. >> the democrats are cutting defense spending. >> if you have a steady top line with contingency costs coming out of the top line it will be a tighter defense budget. >> let's go over to the battle of the f-22 fighter. administration invested a lot of authority. the president said he would veto the bill if it had f22. but the house kept money in for the presidential helicopter. did that give the administration for clout? >> i think it was a clear victory for the administration. it's been overestimated the extent to which he can use this to perhaps make similar decisions. let's face it was never really a true battle against the military industrial complex. the air force was brought to heel by the defense secretary so they didn't fight for the f22. the lockheed martin did not fight for it because they will
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buy more f35s which they make. some pieces of the iron triangle fell away before this went to bat. i think it's a victory but i think there will be real tough fights ahead. >> will be there a veto over presidential helicopter? no? >> no. not with the democrat controlled congress and the democrat president. i think they will do at all cost a veet over the defense bill. >> not waste a veto on something like that. >> especially when he got the most important one that he wanted and solved in congress. >> symbolically the president has a lot say. the money is not much. it's not worth the huge fight over it. >> a lot of the helicopter which was paid for already is usable and strip out the services from the thing. >> that's the best example. half of the money is spend and you have what, nine helicopters right now in inventory that are perfectly useful.
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let's go to the question of the larger army. the force has been growing. there was another authorization of. 2,000-- 22,000 strength to the army. is this just the tip of the iceberg or will we see many more troop end strength increases? >> no. because too expensive. each soldier costs what, 110,000 plus dollars a year. >> 1.4 billion per 10,000. >> and i think i recently mentioned that. and that's one of the reasons the army fought against increasing its strengths because personnel costs are already eating up every other part of the army's budget. and it's also not clear that you want a much bigger military. i know the advocates of it. but unless you assume we are going to have two infantry heavy commitments, which is a problem with iraq and afghanistan, it's not clear you need a bigger force and my guess is no. >> i don't think you can say
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no, yet. two things matter. we don't know what's going to happen to afghanistan and how many people we will need there. and the second thing we don't know is what kind of stress on the force and high suicide rate continues because of the high stress in the army. and in that case the congress has to respond and the only thing that they have available to do that is to add more troops to do that to cut deployment. i know that the 22,000 and maybe as many as 30,000 could be temporary and gone in three years. but three years from now you have to know where we will be and i don't think any of us know where we have to be. >> how many bad headlines you can take or stories of the families or the troops suffer when they come back and how difficult it is to be reintegrated and all that. i think it's very -- there is a chance we will have to keep going. >> let's go to europe. congratulations. france and germany are out of recession, according to the numbers. what do you think the outlook will be in europe for defense spending where there are some that are saying there is added
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pressure. >> i think there will be stimulus spending in europe has been probably not as much as here. the thing is that the budgets are out of control now. and because of europe's own rules you have to rein that in. if there is something you can always please the european public spending on defense most of the people agree with that. because they want universal health care and things you are discussing here, too. right, we will be right back. what threats are shaking the pentagon strategic r
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we are back with our round table that includes rick mays congressional editor for the army times publishing company. john barry the national security correspondent for "newsweek" and chris of it, the deputy chief editor of the france press america wire service. john, let's start with you. critics of the review are sort of dismissing it already out of hand saying it is merely a budget drill and something that will define major budget cuts that will come down the pipe. is that fair? because there are hints we will get strategy out of this. aren't we? >> yes. i think the criticism is that it should be a budget drill. strategy review if it's untethered to the resources.
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i think it's likely to be more interesting than the last couple. because it does seem to be grappling with two separate problems. on two separate time frames. and the big problem out is the way is a european competitor, china that nobody talks about that. if so what do you do? how do you prepare? out there is the biggy. in the mean time there are the future of these mete wars. like iraq, afghanistan. and the future of what we call the global commons like piracy. which requires. >> and -- >> add stuff but my sense is that the two drivers in terms of project and force numbers are the ones i mentioned. the question is how you align one with the other. then you hope to whether or not you can do what you remember what the last president talked about which is skipping a generation of information technology for instance moving
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to unmanned systems to really bring down the cost of your platform. >> do we now have any idea hot winners and losers will be? >> i think the current wars and the capabilities needed to fight those will be winners. and i think peer competitor, way down the line of the future, those capabilities will be losers. the army will benefit. i think the navy will be a loser. they could lose an aircraft carrier and along with that a bunch of other ships. >> does -- is there a perceptible shift in how china is views despite what you said, john, have i heard michelle say there has to be a hedging strategy against china in terms of the broader threats, there is going to be a sharpening of view of china as a potential competitor and threat? or dim yiewtion as china as a threat? >> i think we won't pick them out as a specific threat.
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i don't think that's in the interest of the united states to do. and i think if you plan just for china, that you miss other things that you might come up. and part of the whole defense review is to look at everything that could happen and then what risk do you want to accept and concentrating on china would not be a wise thing to do. >> i wouldn't be surprised if china is not in the report. because it's too early. china will be a competitor, but i think there is plenty of time given the advance that the u.s. has in this defense. one of the big focuses is africa. the launching of africa command a renewed focus on it. the secretary of state spent an enormous amount of time traveling through africa. how is that engagement being received. chris of it let me take it to you because francis has -- france has been interested in africa and remains actively
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engaged. will this be a meaningful engagement? there is permanence and how does the u.s. overcome some skepticism of local countries that look at this just as the u.s. johnny come lately to the party. >> i think as far as france is concerned there is a lot of tension between africa and former colonies and the french government because president sarkozy had a speech that wasn't well received. i think the u.s. can actually take advantage of that. and not quite sure i understand the strategy completely for why africa and don't think it's very clear and the africa command shows that can see they are talking about it. we are waiting for concrete realization. we have to wait and see, i guess. >> what's the view on russia? russia has been increasingly a little bit less -- than it was during the last administration
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but we had submarines off the u.s. coast. is that a fluke or an indication of russia trying to goose the united states? >> it's russia is trying to reassert itself as a great power it thinks it was and should be. the problem with russia is not major capabilities which are -- but the fact that you could just end up blundering into war over say georgia. both sides are behaving stupidly there and that would involve the u.s. in some fashion. the worry with russia is nationalism and misjudgment might lepped into a marginal mess. >> unfortunately that's all the time we have for today. thanks very much. we appreciate it. coming up next in my notebook, why the united states should continue investing in nuclear weapons. ♪
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president obama pledge to reduce and nuclear weapons stock is a noble goal but they will remain necessary for the foreseeable future given those with atomic weapons want to
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keep them in part because so many want them. while other nations feel newer weapons, america's congress had a staunched efforts to develop new weapons. u.s. production stopped when the cold war ended. the trouble is the sophisticated weapons degrade in reliability and predictability as they age which is a bad thing given their enormous destructive power. since making new weapons isn't science without civil parallel if you aren't making them you are losing the skills needed to make them as the navy discovered when it started refurbishing the war heads and engineers realized they forgotten key skills that took time and money to relearn. unacceptable for a nation that extends its umbrella to 40 nations. america's reluctant to modernize may leave those who rely on that umbrella. to guarantee their security na. outcome would be inconsistent with washington's nonproliferation goals. the president said he wants a safe and secure and selective
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arsenal and america must invest in a new generation of nuclear devices. thanks for joining us. you can watch this program online at defense news or e-mail me at... we will be back next sunday morning at 11:00. have a great week.

This Week in Defense
CBS August 16, 2009 11:00am-11:30am EDT

News/Business. Guests from the Defense Department, Congress and the defense industry.

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 17, China 9, Iraq 6, Russia 6, Europe 6, Afghanistan 4, United States 4, Africa 4, Pentagon 3, America 3, France 3, Us 3, John Barry 2, Kathy Shear 2, Washington 2, Britain 2, Pakistan 2, Rick Mays 2, France Press America 1, Navy 1
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